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Paramount Steps Up TV DVD Releases

28 Nov, 2003 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Paramount Home Entertainment will significantly step up its output of TV series on DVD next year, capitalizing on the wealth of programming available through its sister divisions CBS, MTV and Nickelodeon as well as its own Paramount Television unit.

All are owned by Viacom, which Paramount publicity VP Martin Blythe points out “began life as a television distribution entity.”

At the October TV DVD Conference, which Video Store Magazine produced, a preview reel of upcoming TV product showed clips from a number of popular TV shows that previously had not been earmarked for release, including “Charmed” and “Mork & Mindy.”

Not all programs on the preview reel are coming to DVD in 2004, Blythe noted. “Charmed,” for example, won't be out on disc until 2005.

But plenty of series are coming to DVD in 2004, including “Star Trek: Voyager” and repackaged season sets of the original “Star Trek.”

The slate also includes “complete season” packages of “Hogan's Heroes,” “Touched by an Angel,” “Resurrection Boulevard,” “I Love Lucy,” “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “C.S.I.”

“'SpongeBob' is particularly interesting since ‘SpongeBob' is no longer only a children's franchise,” Blythe said. “It now appeals to all age demos, and the season boxed sets are being marketed primarily to adults.”

Single-disc compilations will still be released for kids, beginning with The Seascape Capers, coming Jan. 6, and SpongeBob Goes Prehistoric, due March 9.

Paramount's 2004 TV DVD blitz begins Jan. 6 with the complete second seasons of “Cheers” and “Frasier.” Additional season sets will be released throughout the year, Blythe said.

The complete first season of MTV's “Punk'd,” with host Ashton Kutcher, streets Jan. 20. Orders for the $26.99 set are due Dec. 9.

And the complete first season of “Star Trek: Voyager” hits stores Feb. 24. The five-disc set contains all 15 episodes and various extras; subsequent season sets will be rolled out throughout the year.

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